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The Minimalist Half-Marathon Training Plan

30 Jan

My relationship with running has been rocky and tumultuous. It is plagued with injuries, heat exhaustion, missed PRs and sprinkled with just enough triumphs to keep me coming back for more. After a marathon, many half-marathons, and countless short distance races, I took a substantial break from racing (almost 2 years). I’ve been working hard to correct my imbalances- strengthen where I’m weak and stretch where I’m tight- and I am ready to run again.


JWD and I are running a half-marathon that is less than 10 weeks away. We have some pretty lofty time goals :), but our main goal is to train and race injury free. Although I want to train for a race, I don’t want to give up my other workouts, so we are following what I call a minimalist training plan. The plan is to only do three runs per week and continue our weekly strength training sessions and yoga practice. Here’s a look at our running schedule:

1 4×400 3-mi tempo 6-mi long
2 4×800 4-mi tempo 8-mi long
3 3×1600 5-mi tempo 10-mi long
4 6×400 6-mi tempo 6-mi long
5 3×1600 4-mi tempo 10-mi long
6 4×800 8-mi tempo 8-mi long
7 6×400 6-mi tempo 10-mi long
8 4×1600 8-mi tempo 12-mi long
9 3×800 3-mi tempo 6-mi long
10 4×400 2-mi tempo RACE DAY

based on

The key to minimalist training is making every running workout count, so there are pace goals associated with each run on the plan (check out the link above). I’m excited to get started!

Has anyone else tried a “minimalist” approach to race training?

Thanks for reading 🙂


Half Full

13 Apr

First of all, let me direct your attention to the URL box ^^^ above. From now on, I will be blogging from the *new* Running on Sunshine website! Bookmark it, people! Or better yet, sign up for an email subscription –>

I also started a Running on Sunshine Facebook Page where I plan to post more casual, everyday photos and tips. Search “Running on Sunshine” on Facebook and “Like” the page! I have to have a certain number of “Likes” before they’ll give me a direct link to the page.

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I really love quirky t-shirts and one of my favorites in my collection is this one:

I wear it on days when I need a little inspiration, a little reminder to look on the bright side. This shirt will definitely come in handy this week as I pick myself up and brush off Sunday’s race.

It didn’t exactly go as I had planned. We finished, overall we had a good time, but it wasn’t pretty. I wanted to post this recap in hopes of helping someone else out there who had (or will someday have) a less than ideal race day.

In the cocoon, running is my thing. JWD’s thing is soccer, but my thing is running. Since college soccer has come to an end, I begged invited JWD to train for a race with me. I had this wonderful ideal in my brain of spending time training together, lining up on race day together, and setting a PR all while impressing him with my endurance and grit. 🙂

So, we trained. We ran on the treadmill, in the rain, in the freezing cold. I got faster (yay!) because I found it much harder to admit to JWD that my lungs were about to explode than to just.keep.running. I was confident that I could muscle through the race at the pace we had set.

I woke up on race day full of excitement. Usually I’m extremely nervous, but knowing JWD would be by my side calmed my nerves. We rode our bikes downtown to the starting line. The forecast predicted a high of 85* and I could feel that the heat and humidity had already started to set in. As I stood in our assigned corral stretching and waiting for the race to start, I noticed I was sweating. This isn’t that strange because I always sweat like crazy, but it was only 7am and I was already sweating!

The race started and the first few miles flew by. We were on pace and feeling great. Then it all went downhill. I started feeling really hot. I looked over at JWD who was drenched in sweat, and then looked at my own skin. It was dry, hot, and salty. Then I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe. I knew something wasn’t right, so I stopped and walked. I’ve never walked in a race before.

Heat and humidity impair your body’s ability to cool itself, especially if you haven’t had time to adjust to the heat. As I walked, I assessed the situation. I felt my PR slipping away and was beginning to feel the sting on my ego. But my body was overheating, and I had to listen to my body. I knew I could finish the race, but it would have to be at a much slower pace.

We did cross the finish line at the best pace my body could muster in those conditions. Needless to say, I did not get my PR. But I also did not have to be rushed to the hospital which is much more important.

Here’s How I’m Getting Over My Bad Race

  • I Shed a Few Tears. Yes, I cried over my race. When you pour so much effort into training, you are allowed to be upset. It’s okay to vent and sulk a little bit.
  • I Analyzed What Went Wrong. I reviewed the days leading up to the race- how much did I sleep? what did I eat and drink? how did I feel? My body probably just wasn’t used to the heat and humidity. Everyone’s body is different and will therefor react differently under various circumstances. Try to identify the variables that impacted your performance and realize that certain variables are completely out of your control. Anything can happen on race day- weather, illness, injury- and you have to learn to adapt.
  • I Identified The Positives. In every negative situation, there are positives to be found. I realize that under the circumstances, I did the best I could and I finished. Even though it hurt my ego, I was able to adapt to the situation and fight through it. I got to run my first race with JWD, and we will definitely never forget it. I was also able to watch many of my friends fight through the hot, hilly coarse and cross the finish line.
  • I’m Working On Setting New Goals. Now that I’ve put the less-than-perfect race day behind me, I can look forward to my next fitness goals. I can’t wait to start lifting again! Take what you learned from the bad race and use it to improve your training and mindset going in to your next race.

2011 isn’t over yet, so I have plenty of time and plenty of races to set a PR.

My glass is definitely half full (of coconut water).

Don’t forget to bookmark and subscribe to the new site and find Running on Sunshine on Facebook!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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